In September, 2007, I heard Senator Obama give a primary campaign speech in Peterborough, N.H. I concluded he was "world-class" and I worked on his campaigns. Although he hasn't yet solved the economic crisis, health care, the environment, two wars, etc., most people in Northampton would say I got it right.
Now I'm supporting Mayor Higgins. In her own way she is world-class. She is what every city wants in a mayor: someone with a deep understanding of the substantive issues, the budget, the process, who can work with the Council and have a conversation with the community while making hard decisions that inevitably make some people unhappy. She secured an A+ rating for our long-term bonds. She created a city website so the community could review meeting minutes and budgets and learn about boards and commissions. Northampton won the Common Cause "Campaign for Open Government" E-Government award in 2007, 2008 and 2009. She led the recent tax override effort, preventing the dismissal of many teachers and policemen. She kept the affordable housing at Meadowbrook Apartments from being turned into condos. Forty percent of all open space in Northampton was acquired during her administration. Northampton is the envy of mayors near and far. That it's a wonderful town is no accident. We have a great mayor. Let's keep her.
After reading "Legalize It," Oct. 15, 2009, I expect people will take time accepting policies legalizing marijuana. Reasonable people may disagree about restraining pot smoking in public through city ordinances. It should depend on what trends take hold. Restricting people from drinking alcohol in public is often wasted effort, but drunk people can ruin a place. I may be undisturbed by a person smoking pot on the street, but if the impulse of a town's people is to avoid that, so be it.
The article unfairly faults Martha Coakley, a United States Senate candidate for whom I have volunteered. I choose politicians who seem least likely to be corrupt and most likely to oppose predatory lending and industry scamming. I accept a history of enforcing laws from a chief administrator of a law enforcement agency. Coakley is running for a non-law enforcement position now and people should examine her positions at www.MarthaCoakley.com.
Ken Burns' personality has nothing to do with the fact that he brings history alive to tens of thousands of adults and children both in the Valley and nationwide. Isn't James Heflin's column [Art in Paradise] in the October 15th Advocate a little bit like condemning Michael Moore's film work because Michael is overweight? I think that film critics (no matter what their expertise) should evaluate the facts and content of a film and not base their criticism on whether?they like?or dislike the personality of the director.